Are you planning your Walt Disney World vacation and trying to decide when to go? Let’s take a look at our exclusive Walt Disney World Crowd Calendar for 2021 to find the perfect time!
One of the biggest questions people have when planning their trip to Walt Disney World is one of the most basic ones: when should you go? Figuring out when to go to Disney World is the first step of our Disney Vacation Planning Guide. You cannot make any other decisions until this step is complete.
Our dad, Dave, has spent hours and hours researching this exact topic because it has huge implications on how magical your visit is! In our opinion, the number of people at Disney can make or break your vacation. We rely on our crowd calendar to help pick the best time to go.
What is a Disney World Crowd Calendar? Good question. It is our best guess at when to go to Disney based upon how many people are visiting the Disney parks on any given day. For us, low crowds means a good time to visit. Low crowds mean low wait times for attractions!
When planning your Disney World vacation, it is important to have great information at your fingertips in order to maximize your experience. That’s why this calendar is so invaluable! We have taken crowd information from past years, combined with major events that will be occurring in the parks in 2022 and sprinkled in average temperatures and rain amounts to help you plan a wonderful trip.
Obviously we don’t know the future and can’t fully predict how busy Disney World will get. However, we can make pretty good predictions based on patterns, weather, activities and personal experience. Our crowd calendar will help guide you in knowing when the best time will be to visit Disney.
What you Need to Know About The Walt Disney World Calendar
As a general rule, there are 3 things you should know when planning your trip:
- When schools are in session, the parks are less crowded. Unfortunately, this can be a double edged sword. You want to try and plan your trip while schools are in session so that there are fewer people in the Disney Parks…but you also probably have kids that are in school. If this is the case, try to get creative with days your kids happen to be on school breaks while the majority of the country is not.
For example, maybe your kids schools start later in September or get out earlier in May. Possibly there is a 3 day break somewhere in the school schedule that is unique to your school district.
- Holidays mean the parks will be more crowded. Holidays mean people are off work, off school and off to Disney World. Some of the bigger holidays attract crowds not only on the day itself but the days leading up to it and after it. Christmas is the most important holiday to consider when looking at crowds.
- Special events are always going on at Disney which affect crowd levels. Disney World puts on many many special events throughout the year. In fact there are so many that it seems every weekend there is some large event. Everything from Cheerleading competitions to marathons and everything in between. You need to be aware of them before you come.
These 3 tips will help you plan your Disney Vacation far out in advance. For example, you can look at 2022 or 2023 and know that you should avoid any 3 day holiday weekend regardless of what exact dates they are!
photo credit Alexis Lariscy
One final note. If you are going when the crowds are expected to be heavy, do not despair! Follow your plan and you will be just fine. The crowd levels are subject to many things and not absolutes in any way.
Other Questions to Ask Yourself
When you decide to go to Disney World rests on a lot of personal factors for you and your family as well. Some questions you need to ask yourself are:
- How important is the crowd factor to me during my visit?
- Am I ok with my children missing some school?
- What kind of weather do I want to have?
- Do I want to spend a chunk of my time at the pools and Typhoon Lagoon?
- Do I want to visit during special times, like during one of the Epcot Festivals such as the food and wine festival or flower festival?
Speaking of festivals…
Disney and its 50th Anniversary Celebration
Disney is celebrating its 50th anniversary starting in October 2021 and this runs all the way through 2022! We have an entire post dedicated to what is happening during Disney’s 50th anniversary so check it out! There are new attractions, new restaurants, and the castle has a new look!
photo credit Alexis Lariscy
Month By Month – When to Avoid Disney And When To Go
A big part of having the right mindset for Disney is understanding the flow of the crowds. It is helpful to know what to expect as far as crowds.
While the exact dates of high attendance and low attendance changes year by year, there are certain times of the year and certain events happening at Disney that we suggest avoiding.
Below you will find a month by month rundown of the 2022 Disney Crowd Calendar. You will find the attendance predictions for the year as well as both general and specific events happening each month.
Obviously the exact attendance, wait times, etc at Disney World cannot be foretold (if only Yoda could help us…) but this should give you a general idea of what to expect.
It may be helpful for you to also search specific events happening to give you assistance as to which particular park you may want to avoid on a specific day. For example, if a cheer event is happening in the Magic Kingdom, spend that day at Epcot instead!
Walt Disney World Crowd Calendar 2022
Weather: Average temperature is 60°, 6 days with precipitation this month.
Early January – Walt Disney World Marathon weekend is usually happening and schools are still on break which typically makes this a busy time in Disney World. This year, however, the Marathon has been canceled.
Martin Luther King Jr weekend brings a 3 day federal holiday weekend and college Cheerleading and Dance competitions. While this weekend isn’t one of the busiest, it is wise to be aware that crowds are higher than what you may expect.
I like this time to go to Disney! It can be a bit chilly but typically nice with lower crowds.
Weather: Average Daily temperature is 61°, 7 days with precipitation this month
Early February –NFL Pro Bowl week. Pro Bowl is on the 6th.
Early February – National Dance Team competition. This is a nation wide dance team competition which brings higher attendance.
Early February – National High School Cheerleading competition. This is a very prestigious, televised competition (ESPN). In 2020, this competition brought in 20,000 athletes.
Presidents Day Weekend– Holiday weekend
Disney Princess Half Marathon weekend. The half marathon event also includes a 5k, 10k, and the Disney Fairy Tale Challenge is the 24 – 27th.
End of February – The Contest of Champions is an open dance and drill competition that takes place at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex at Disney World. NOTE: may be canceled.
I would go February 1-5! Its clear sailing!
Weather: Average Daily temperature is 67°, 8 days with precipitation this month
The Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival starts March 2rd and runs until July 4. You will see beautiful topiary displays of Disney Characters throughout Epcot. This is truly a beautiful festival! During this time there is also a concert series.
Overall this month is hit or miss with rolling spring breaks throughout the country and a wide variety of High School and College competitions and school outings happening throughout the month. We recommend going earlier in the month if you can.
If you go to Disney World in March, go early! As the month goes along you can expect spring break crowds to bring in more people.
Weather: Average Daily temperature is 71°, 6 days with precipitation this month.
Week before Easter and Easter weekend – generally a very busy time as many students are off of school.
April TBA – Star Wars Rival Run Weekend. A Star Wars themed running weekend which includes a 5k, 10k, half marathon, and the Star Wars Rival Run challenge.
End of April into May 1 – Summit Dance and Cheer competitions. About 1,000 cheer teams compete at the ESPN Wide World of Sports.
April 25 – April 30 – sneaky time to go! Low crowds and great temperatures make this a great time to go if you can swing it.
Weather: Average Daily temperature is 77°, 8 days with precipitation this month
During the week May is a great time to visit. Even the weekends leading up to Memorial Day are not bad.
Memorial Day – Holiday weekend and the beginning of summer break in some parts of the country. Memorial Day is not only the unofficial start to summer in the general USA, it is also the summer kick off in Disney World! The parks start to stay open later beginning Memorial Day (usually staying open until 10:00 rather than 9:00).
May is one of the best times to go to Disney World! Weather is great, events have died down and school is still in session.
Weather: Average Daily temperature is 81°, 14 days with precipitation this month
June is generally very busy, but summer is not as busy as it has been in past years. You will want to be aware that June is hot, humid, and rainy!
I used to stay clear of the summer months but times are changing! The crowds are actually better than in the past making Walt Disney World a great place to go on a summer vacation.
Weather: Average Daily temperature is 82°, 17 days with precipitation this month
4th of July brings heavy crowds at the Magic Kingdom. Disney is known for its incredible fireworks displays along with a holiday weekend. Both the Magic Kingdom and Epcot have special 4th of July celebrations. Disney Springs has special 4th of July decor and the Animal Kingdom usually has special food and beverages to celebrate America’s Independence Day.
The rest of July is very busy but not as busy as summers have been in the past. If you can brave the heat and humidity (average is 74% humidity in Orlando in July) this is a good time to go!
Weather: Average Daily temperature is 83°, 16 days with precipitation this month
Middle of August – crowds start to decrease as school starts to begin in some parts of the country. The temperatures are also beginning to back off just a tick toward the very end of August. Do be aware that tropical storms and hurricanes often form from mid-August to late October.
August 28 through October – The Epcot Food and Wine Festival. Avoid Epcot during the weekends as it is a favorite place for the locals to visit.
Weather: Average Daily temperature is 81°, 14 days with precipitation this month
Labor Day – A holiday weekend with heavy crowds. One thing to note, Labor Day itself is one of the least busy holiday Mondays as visitors will often head home the Sunday of Labor Day weekend.
September 1 – November 1 Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at Magic Kingdom
The rest of September is a great time to visit Disney World as schools are in session throughout the country. This would be especially great if you have toddlers who are not currently in school! There is so much to do for families with young kids in Disney – check out our tips!
Weather: Average Daily temperature is 75°, 9 days with precipitation this month,
October 1-7 – great time to go.
October 9-12 – We say, avoid!! Columbus Day / Indigenous People’s Day federal holiday weekend. People are off of work and kids are off of school which brings heavy crowds.
End of October – Fall breaks for school throughout the country makes crowds a bit heavier.
Weather: Average Daily temperature is 68°, 6 days with precipitation this month
November 3-6: Wine and Dine Half Marathon will bring a bit heavier crowds. This runDisney event is taking on a fun twist this year by highlighting Disney villains!
November 6 – December 21 Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at the Magic Kingdom
November 11 Veterans Day (observed) – Federal holiday which brings heavy crowds
November 22-28 Thanksgiving Holiday week, heavy crowds. Generally speaking Saturday-Wednesday are less busy than Thursday-Sunday of this week. In case it matters to you, Christmas decorations at Walt Disney World WILL be up!
November 26 – December 26 Epcot International Festival of the Holidays at Epcot
Weather: Average Daily temperature is 62°, 6 days with precipitation this month
Second half – The Christmas holiday brings large crowds leading into New years. The Christmas crowds are a real thing. Disney is known to have the highest attendance of visitors between Christmas and New Years Day. Not only are the crowds high, but general costs of everything is higher this time of year. If you are trying to stay on a budget please take all this into consideration.
When is the best time of year to go to Walt Disney World?
The best times to go to Disney World is the last week of August, the last week of April, and the first week of December. The entire month of September is also a good time to visit.
If I were to pick 3 of my favorite weeks to go from our Disney World Crowd Calendar, it would be the last week of August, last week of April and the first week of December. In December the Christmas decorations are up but the Christmas crowds haven’t started yet.
I also like September because school is in session throughout the country which makes crowds lower, and the competitions that are so wide spread from January through April haven’t started yet.
Now that you know when to go, be sure to check out our month by month packing guide for what to wear at Disney World! If you are wondering where to stay during your visit start here: find out if you should stay onsite at Disney World or offsite!
We hope you found our Disney World Crowd Calendar to be helpful! Be sure to share it with your friends and family who are planning their own trip!